This weekend Eddie Jones faces arguably one of his toughest challenges yet, as New Zealand face England at Twickenham.
England’s victory over South Africa last week will be a massive confidence boost following a disappointing Six Nations and tour to South Africa.
Eddie Jones is not naïve, he knows there are ways to beat the All Blacks, Ireland did it, the Lions did it, South Africa did it. Is it England’s turn to topple the world’s number one side?
- Pile the pressure on Beauden Barrett
The Hurricanes playmaker is exceptionally talented, but much like this new breed of all out attacking fly-halves, Barrett, Ford, Russell, the Kiwi is no use if he is going backwards.
On the back foot, the first thing he loses is his composure, and then his kicks start to wayward. One of Barrett’s biggest weaknesses. Under pressure Barrett also struggles to control the game. Unlike Farrell Barrett needs front foot ball to manage the game.
If England can slow the ball down and get Sam Underhill and Brad Shields harassing the fly-half England can win this game.
2. Stay switched on
New Zealand have a knack of pulling away from teams in the final quarter, their win over South Africa in the most recent Rugby Championship was a fine example that they are the undisputed comeback kings.
If England want to beat them they have to remain calm and keep the pressure on, this game will be a battle of fitness in the dying stages. It will be draining but if England can stand up and match New Zealand pound for pound in those decisive final moments they have every chance of upsetting the odds.
3. Kick well
If you kick loosely you will get punished. Fullback, Damian McKenzie is one of the best broken field runners in the world and he will be backed up by Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith.
Kicking ball away to these three without any sort of chase will be inviting trouble, if Ben Youngs is going to kick there needs to be a serious chase and not just from Jonny May as was the case against South Africa.
England can control the air if they want to, it’s the one part of McKenzie’s game that could use some work. If May, Chris Ashton and Elliot Daly can cover their own space well and smother the young fullback. England have a chance.
England play New Zealand this Saturday. It is sure to be a thrilling contest.
England XV to face New Zealand
1 Ben Moon 2 Dylan Hartley (cc) 3 Kyle Sinckler 4 Maro Itoje 5 George Kruis 6 Brad Shields 7 Sam Underhill 8 Mark Wilson
9 Ben Youngs 10 Owen Farrell (cc) 11 Jonny May 12 Ben Te’o 13 Henry Slade 14 Chris Ashton 15 Elliot Daly
New Zealand XV to face England
1 Karl Tu’inukuafe 2 Codie Taylor 3 Owen Franks 4 Sam Whitelock 5 Brodie Retallick 6 Liam Squire 7 Ardie Savea 8 Kieran Read ©
9 Aaron Smith 10 Beauden Barrett 11 Rieko Ioane 12 Sonny Bill Williams 13 Jack Goodhue 14 Ben Smith 15 Damian McKenzie